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Sexually selected females in the monogamous Western Australian seahorse

Kvarnemo, C., Moore, G. and Jones, A.G. (2007) Sexually selected females in the monogamous Western Australian seahorse. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences, 274 (1609). pp. 521-525.

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Studies of sexual selection in monogamous species have hitherto focused on sexual selection among males. Here, we provide empirical documentation that sexual selection can also act strongly on females in a natural population with a monogamous mating system. In our field-based genetic study of the monogamous Western Australian seahorse, Hippocampus subelongatus, sexual selection differentials and gradients show that females are under stronger sexual selection than males: mated females are larger than unmated ones, whereas mated and unmated males do not differ in size. In addition, the opportunity for sexual selection (variance in mating success divided by its mean squared) for females is almost three times that for males. These results, which seem to be generated by a combination of a male preference for larger females and a female-biased adult sex ratio, indicate that substantial sexual selection on females is a potentially important but under-appreciated evolutionary phenomenon in monogamous species.

Publication Type: Journal Article
Murdoch Affiliation: School of Biological Sciences and Biotechnology
Publisher: Royal Society of London
Copyright: © 2006 The Royal Society.
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